Kinematic And Static Analysis Of Over-Constrained Mechanisms And Deployable Pantograph Masts
Foldable and deployable space structures refer to a broad category of pre-fabricated structures that can be transformed from a compact folded configuration to a predetermined expanded configuration. Such deployable structures are stable and can carry loads. These structures are also mechanisms with one degree of freedom in their entire transformation stages whether in the initial folded form or in the final expanded configuration. Usually, pantograph mechanisms or a scissor-like elements (SLEs) are part of such deployable structures. A new analysis tool to study kinematic and static analyses of foldable and deployable space structures /mechanisms, containing SLEs, has been developed in this thesis. The Cartesian coordinates are used to study the kinematics of large deployable structures. For many deployable structures the degree of freedom derived using the standard Grubler-Kutzback criteria, is found to be less than one even though the deployable structure /mechanism can clearly move. In this work the dimension of nullspace of the derivatives of the constraint equations are used to obtain the correct degrees of freedom of deployable structure. A numerical algorithm has been developed to identify the redundant joints /links in the deployable structure /mast which results in the incorrect degrees of freedom obtained by using the Grubler-Kutzback criteria. The effectiveness of the algorithm has been illustrated with several examples consisting of triangular, box shaped SLE mast and an eighteen-sided SLE ring with revolute joints. Further more the constraint Jacobian matrix is also used to evaluate the global degrees of freedom of deployable masts/structures. Closed-form kinematic solutions have been obtained for the triangular and box type masts and finally, as a generalization, extended to a general n-sided SLE based ring structure. The constraint Jacobian matrix based approach has also been extended to obtain the load carrying characteristics of deployable structures with SLEs in terms of deriving the stiffness matrix of the structure. The stiffness matrix has been obtained in the symbolic form and it matches results obtained from other commonly used techniques such as force and displacement methods. It is shown that the approach developed in this thesis is applicable for all types of practical masts with revolute joints where the revolute joint constraints are made to satisfy through the method of Lagrange multipliers and a penalty formulation. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the new method, the procedure is applied to solving (i) a simple hexagonal SLE mast, and (ii) a complex assembly of four hexagonal masts and the results are presented. In summary, a complete analysis tool to study masts with SLEs has been developed. It is shown that the new tool is effective in evaluating the redundant links /joints there by over coming the problems associated with the well –known Grubler-Kutzback criteria. Closed-form kinematic solutions of triangular and box SLE masts as well as a general n-sided SLE ring with revolute joints has been obtained. Finally, the constraint Jacobian based method is used to evaluate the stiffness matrix for the SLE masts. The theory and algorithms presented in this thesis can be extended to masts of different shapes and for the stacked masts.